Parsons to Lytton
Panama, New Granada
27 September 1858
I have the honour to report the arrival of my Detachment of the Royal Engineers at Panama on 25th inst.
There being no Ship of War in Port I endeavoured but could not obtain permission to embark at once from the railway station on board the American Mail Steamer for California; permission was afterwards granted to embark two days before the time of sailing, this I take advantage of and will proceed on board tomorrow.
I have to request that you will be pleased to reconsider the pecuniary arrangements made in England for my transit to Victoria.OneManuscript image One thousand pounds were placed at my disposal.
The Railway expenses across the
Isthmus of Darien amounted to £221.11.6
The passage money to California is 973. 2.0
From San Fransisco to Victoria about 250. 0.0
Other incidental expenses such as pay advanced to Men in England, Quarters and Messing at Panama, transfer of Baggage &c have to be added; so that if you will kindly cause Drafts of mine to the amount of £600 in addition to be honored by H.M. Paymaster General (whose blank bills I have been supplied with) I shall feel that funds will not be wanting in case of casualty or unforseen delay in providing a passage from San Fransisco.
In proceeding to San Fransisco the men will be provided with second class accommodation as in British Contract Steamers. I cannot incur the responsibility of putting them intheManuscript image the Steerage, though the passage money would be less, as large numbers of Steerage Passengers have to sleep on the deck with only a canvass awning to protect them from very variable weather for 14 days, and exposed to the prejudicial influences of the damp night air of the tropics. I need not mention in addition, the class of persons with whom my men would be constantly associated.
The Steamers running North from this place have latterly been carrying from 1200 to 1500 through passengers to San Francisco & Victoria.
I beg to assure you that every precaution will be taken to diminish expenditures and to procure cheap transit. Should a British Ship of War be at San Fransisco I will communicate with her.
I have received every assistance from the British Consuls at Colon & Panama, from Signor Hurtado, the Intendente of Panama & from his Brothers the Agents of the British West India Mail Steamers.
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I am happy to add that the health of men is good and that they have adjusted themselves to my satisfaction. We expect to be in Victoria about 21 October.
I have the honor to be Sir
Yr most obedient humble Servant
R.M. Parsons
Captn Rl Engs
Comg Advanced Party to British Columbia

The Rt Honble
Sir Bulwer Lytton Bart
&c &c &c
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
Considering the great doubts & fears which prevailed here as to this party gathering on the Pacific side with any thing like despatch, all the pains taken by us to guard against delays or mischances seem rewarded thus far as to this first party.
The second party will find improved facilities for reaching its destination. Capn Parsons left on the 1 Sepr & hopes to arrive at Victoria the 21 Oct.
Copy this letter to T-y, & recommend compliance with Capn Parson's request for money.
ABd 29 Sepr [Octr]
TFE 29 Oct
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The success of this advanced guard to the main body is very satisfactory.
I think Capt Parson's measures sd be approved, especially as he seems to have entertained doubts as to the propriety of taking 2nd class fares for the detachment? This I suppose sd be through Col. Moody? It might also be worth while to inform the F.O. that every assistance has been given by the Consuls at Colon & Panama?
As to money matters write to Treasury?
C Oct 30
EBL Nov 4
Other documents included in the file
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Draft, Elliot to C.E. Trevelyan, Treasury, 15 November 1858, forwarding copy of the letter and recommending that the request for additional funds be honoured.
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Draft, Elliot to E. Hammond, Foreign Office, 15 November 1858, informing Lord Malmesbury of the assistance rendered Parsons by the consuls at Colon and Panama.
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Draft reply, Lytton to Douglas, No. 40, 15 November 1858.